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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [10.06.05]


We've come a long way since our humble beginnings back in May of 1999. Unlike many sites which were starting back then, hardCOREware was intended to be a business from the get-go, rather than a hobby on the side. I was just 19 years old at the time, and had just lost my first job as a retail employee for a local health products store here in Vancouver, BC.

Obviously I never had intentions in staying in retail - it was only meant to get me started after high school, while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with life. All I knew is that I didn't want to go back to school just yet.

When I first lost the job (after being moved from retail to web development, I was laid off as soon as I finished the web project), I was stunned, and disappointed. That lasted for about 30 minutes, after which I decided to take up golf, and think about what to do with myself.

I had always had an interest in hardware; I kept up with all the hardware sites of the time, and was constantly upgrading and tweaking my system. It is interesting looking back, because back then a lot of sites were discovering how to cover hardware themselves, and there wasn't the PR force you see today with the hardware manufacturers.

If there was one thing I noticed with a lot of sites back then, it was that many of them were reluctant to say anything really 'bad' about the hardware they were reviewing. Of course there were many sites you could count on, but they weren't in the majority.

So I decided to look at starting a hardware site, offering my perspective not as an 'expert' but as someone with an interest in hardware, and someone who was more than willing to speak their mind.

The first problem was getting hardware to review. Even in the dot-com days, hardware companies weren't exactly eager to send a $400 video card to some unknown site in Canada. I managed to cut a deal with a local hardware store to borrow hardware from them to review on the site. In return, they would get a mention in my reviews. This allowed me to say whatever I wanted about the hardware, without having to worry about repercussions from angry PR people.

Of course I wasn't looking to slam hardware every chance I got, but when something sucked, I was going to tell you about it. The first major hardware I reviewed that was really disappointing was the ATI Rage Fury MAXX. It was a total failure, in just about every way imaginable. Of course, that was before ATI hit it big with Radeon.

After a few reviews under my belt, readers and hardware companies alike were starting to take notice, and I didn't need to borrow hardware anymore. For advertising, I was picked up by the IGN network, who in the dot-com heyday were trying to garner as much traffic as possible. Things were great at first, but got really messy after the crash in 2001. After that, I gave several other networks a try, like GX Network, run at the time by "Thresh" and Like most companies back then, they were more interested in being able to publish big traffic numbers than supporting their affiliates, so I didn't stay there for long.

Eventually I invited some of our forum members to try writing for the site. Eventually I settled on Trevor Flynn as a permanent writer. We also have local writer Norman Tan full time as well.

In the history of the site, I have been screwed by a great number of ad companies. Thankfully, I don't really have to worry about that anymore, since most ad sales are done directly with the stores and hardware companies, supplemented by Google and occasionally others.

Next Page: (Post Dot-Com Crash)